2.3.4: Summary of the tectonic classification
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As noted by Inman and Nordstrom (1971), the tectonic setting of a coast controls the physical nature of the coast, at least at first order (or: grossly). The leading-edge or collision coasts are all relatively straight and mountainous and generally are characterised by sea cliffs, raised terraces, and narrow continental shelves.
The trailing-edge types of coasts are more variable. The Amero- (and Afro-) types have low-lying depositional coastal forms such as barrier islands and the widest continental shelves. The neo-trailing edge coasts are typically steep with beaches backed by sea cliffs, so in many respects these neo-trailing edge coasts are similar to leading-edge coasts. The marginal sea coasts have the greatest diversity of form. The land may be low lying or hilly, and the form of the coast can be dominated by local processes such as the formation of river deltas.